Caramel-Pecan Deep-Dish Apple pie..What a way to finish my first Thanksgiving dinner made wholly by myself! I followed this recipe; it was the first one I came across online and I was pleased to note that I already had almost all of the ingredients. A quick run to my local HEB provided almost all of the rest…Ironically the recipe called for Juniper berries…All of the ones that would rain down on me as I felled their parent tree in sadistic glee…You’d think I’da thought to save a few. But alas, the berry season is over, so I had to do without. The chutney, I had no idea what to expect; sauces really aren’t something I make; I usually buy them. When the recipe called for 3/4ths of a liter of Vinegar, I was a little…Skeptical…Of how it would turn out. But damn. It’s ever so slightly too tart from all that vinegar for my tastes, but I still love it. I think maybe a little honey is in order to substitute for some of that vinegar if I ever make it again. I also cheated on the pears and used canned pears to save time but they kept their shape, surprisingly.
The poached ham turned out beautifully, too…It was completely done this time, to those of you who remember Christmas ’06. The parts closest to the skin were really flavorless though, as if all of the flavor leached into the surrounding water, but the meat within was delectable, with hints of orange, cardamon, cinnamon, bay, and all of the other herbs I used. I think the fact that I used fresh bay leaf I picked at a site (Hamilton Pool, for the E-Corps members that read this, thx for pointing those out BTW Wade!) and grated the orange "zest" myself helped a lot.
I threw together some whole berry cranberry sauce with chopped orange (the de-zested ones), though it hit me while I was making it that a little bit of ginger would have gone a long way in adding some more flavor and making it stand out from plain ol’ cranberry sauce. Also chopped up some butter red potatoes and roasted them with olive oil and an herb medley (and didn’t burn them this time!) and they were also delicious. The pie I didn’t make; I bought frozen from HEB. I spent like 5 minutes trying to decide if it was worth the extra $2.50 in price (woe to budgeting Thanksgiving dinner with food stamps…) but I’m glad I did "splurge." My only regrets were not having the time (or stove space) for a leafy green like collards or kale. Or collards…With pork neck bones…Mmmmm….That and not having a digicamera to take a picture of it. But that will soon be remedied!